The first known scheme for a bridge across the Waitemata Harbour was put forward about 1860 by Mr Bell, a local farmer who issued a prospectus for a North Shore Bridge Company suggesting the construction of a timber pontoon bridge at a cost of about £16,000.
Bridging the harbour was considered by various authorities and tentative designs were prepared, but existing ferry facilities were favoured. Nothing was done until the Auckland Harbour Bridge Authority was constituted by law in 1950 to construct, maintain and control a bridge across the Waitemata Harbour from Point Erin, West Haven to Stokes Point, Northcote.
The Auckland Harbour Bridge Authority’s decision to go ahead with a low profile bridge was not welcomed by everyone. Some advocated a tunnel, while others lamented the lack of a railway or suggested improved ferry services with new ferries and terminals.
Contract documents for the construction of the four lane bridge were signed on 29 October 1954. The negotiated price was £3,465,000 and covered the bridge only, not the approach roads and viaducts which were built.
Work on the site began on 1 May 1955. The foundation tablet was unveiled by the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon C.H. Holland on 27 January 1956. The Bridge was completed in April 1959.
The Bridge is 3348 ft long and has a main span navigation clearance of 800 feet. The clearance under the main span at high water is 142 feet and the height of the main span above the high water is 210 feet. The four lanes on the bridge are each 10ft benches and there is a gradient on the deck of 5%.
The Bridge was opened on Saturday 30 May 1959 by the Governor-General, His Excellency Lord Cobham, whose car made the first crossing that day.
The build up of traffic in the initial years of the operation of the four lane bridge resulted in the Auckland Harbour Bridge Authority investigating ways of providing additional traffic lanes. The Auckland Harbour Bridge Amendment Act 1965 authorised extensions to the bridge, and in 1966 a contract was let to a Japanese firm to extend the four lane structure to eight lanes using box girders which were prefabricated in Japan. The box girders were lifted into position by cranes and bracketed to the bridge. The Bridge and Approach extensions were officially opened by the Governor-General His Excellency Sir Arthur Porritt on 23 September 1969.
Owner: Auckland Archives
Size: 14 items